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: 1 - The Frozen Dewdrop

Will, the marble champion of Moorcliffe Primary (at least for the weekend) makes an astonishing discovery.

Here is the first episode of a wonder-filled children’s story by Mary and Brian Tattersfield. Further episodes will be appearing daily in Open Writing.

The well-illustrated book The Whitley Marble is published by Sarisberie Publishing, The Street, West Clandon, Surrey, GU4 2ST, England.

Will was the marble champion of Moorcliffe Primary School – for the weekend anyway. He had one hundred and thirty-nine marbles and a pretty sore thumbnail this Friday night. He arranged the best ones along the window ledge in his room so that the sun shone through them, changing them into little balls of coloured fire. Some of them were beauties.

His favourite one was quite different from all the others. It had the pure transparent clearness of crystal, and it also had two strange little holes linked by a tunnel in the glass, as though you could thread it on to something. It reminded Will of a large frozen dewdrop, and he breathed on it and polished away until it was sparkling.

Then he held it up to let the light beam through it, holding it right up close to his eye so that the world of the small sphere became his world also.

After his eye had adjusted to the sudden light he could make out the hill over the other side of the valley, with its familiar dips and ridges. But. . . and Will gasped in surprise, right at the top of the hill, where nothing had ever stood before except wild, windy grass, there now stood a great, grand house settled and golden in the sun!

Will took the marble away and peered very hard through the plain glass of his bedroom window. No house stood over the valley – he knew that view like his own hand.

He quickly put the marble to his eye again, trying both his left and right eye this time, and there it was again. He turned it round and round looking at the back, as though he might find the house stuck inside like a cardboard cut out. He tried looking through the other marbles, but there were too many bubbles and too much colour to be able to see through them.

He was terribly excited. What treasure was this? He finally fell asleep that night with the marble still clutched in his hand. He awoke several times in the night and peered through it just to make sure the mystery hadn’t disappeared with the setting sun.

No, it hadn’t! It was even better – in the moonlight the dark shape of the house was ablaze with light from inside, as though lit by hundreds of candles.

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